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The Kingdom of Thailand is in Southeast Asia with coasts on the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand.

Thailand is the heart of the Southeast Asian mainland, bordering Myanmar in the west, Laos in the north, Cambodia in the east, and Malaysia in the south. As Thailand has comparably good infrastructure with Bangkok being an intercontinental flight hub and the nation is the gateway to the region for most foreign visitors.

With great Halal food, a tropical climate, fascinating culture and superb beaches, Thailand is the most visited country in Southeast Asia and also the largest inbound destination from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait. It is called the "Land of Smiles" and very Muslim friendly.

Most of the founders of eHalal have been based in Thailand since 1986.


An Introduction to the regions of Thailand

Thailand can be divided into five geographic and cultural regions:

  Northern Thailand
Chiang Mai, hill tribes, and the Golden Triangle.
The great northeast region which includes Khon Kaen, Sakon Nakhon, Udon Thani etc. Get off the beaten track and discover backcountry Thailand and some magnificent Khmer ruins.
  Central Thailand
Bangkok, lowlands and historic Thailand.
  Eastern Thailand
Beaches and islands within easy reach of Bangkok, like Pattaya, Ko Samet and Ko Chang.
  Southern Thailand
Lush rainforest and hundreds of kilometers of coastline and beguiling islands in both the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, plus Phuket, Krabi, Ko Samui, Ko Tao and many more of Thailand's famous beach spots.

Other Muslim friendly Cities in Thailand

  • Bangkok — Thailand's bustling, frenetic capital, known among the Thai as Krung Thep
  • Ayutthaya — a historical city, UNESCO World Heritage Site and old capital of Siam (full name is Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya)
  • Chiang Mai — de facto capital of Northern Thailand and the heart of Lanna culture
  • Chiang Rai — gateway to the Golden Triangle, ethnic minorities and mountain treks
  • Kanchanaburi — home of the Bridge over the River Kwai and numerous World War II museums
  • Nakhon Ratchasima — largest city of the Isaan region, commonly called Khorat.
  • Pattaya — one of the main tourist destinations, known for its wild nightlife
  • Sukhothai — Thailand's first capital, still with amazing ruins
  • Surat Thani — home of the Srivijaya Empire, gateway to the Samui archipelago

Other Muslim Friendly Destinations in Thailand

  • Khao Sok National Park — one of the most beautiful wildlife reserves in Thailand
  • Khao Yai National Park — take a night time Jeep safari spotting deer or visit the spectacular waterfalls
  • Ko Chang — once a quiet island, now undergoing major tourism development
  • Ko Lipe — small island in the middle of Tarutao National Park, with great reefs and beaches
  • Ko Pha-ngan — site of the famous Full Moon Party with miles of quiet coastline
  • Ko Samet — the nearest island beach escape from Bangkok
  • Ko Samui — comfortable, nature, and entertainment hippie mecca gone upmarket
  • Krabi Province — beach and water sports mecca in the south, includes Ao Nang, Rai Leh, Ko Phi Phi, and Ko Lanta
  • Phuket — the original Thai paradise island, now very developed but with some still beautiful beaches

Thailand Halal Travel Guide

Reclining Buddha statue of Wat Pho

Thailand is the nation in Southeast Asia most visited by tourists, and for good reason. You can find almost anything here: thick jungle as green as can be, crystal blue waters that feel more like a warm bath than a swim in the ocean, and food that can curl your nose hairs while tap dancing across your taste buds. Exotic, yet safe; cheap, yet equipped with every modern amenity you need and there is something for every interest and every price bracket, from beach front backpacker bungalows to some of the best luxury hotels in the world. And despite the heavy flow of tourism, Thailand retains its quintcrucial identity, with a culture and history all its own and a carefree people famed for their smiles and their fun-seeking sanuk lifestyle. Many travellers come to Thailand and extend their stay well beyond their original plans and others never find a reason to leave. Whatever your cup of tea is and they know how to make it in Thailand.


Thailand is largely tropical. It's hot and humid all year around with temperatures in the 28-35°C range (82-95°F), a degree of relief provided only in the mountains in the far north of Thailand. There are, however, three seasons:

  • Cool: From November to the end of February, it doesn't rain much and temperatures are at their lowest, although you will barely notice the difference in the south and will only need to pack a sweater if hiking in the northern mountains, where temperatures can fall as low as 5°C. This is the most popular time to visit and, especially around Christmas and New Year's or at Chinese New Year a few weeks later, finding flights and accommodation can be expensive and difficult so book at least 3 months in advth eHalal has Halal options are limited at certain time.
  • Hot: From March - June, Thailand swelters in temperatures as high as 43°C (104°F) and heat indices in the 50-60°C range (122-140°F).
  • Rainy: From July - October, although it only really gets underway in September, tropical monsoons hit most of the nation. This doesn't mean it rains non-stop, but when it does it pours and flooding is not uncommon.

There are local variations to these general patterns. In particular and the southeast coast of Thailand (including Ko Samui) has the rains reversed, with the peak season being May-Oct and the rainy off-season in November - February.

The People of Thailand

Thailand's people are largely ethnically Thai, although there are significant minorities of Chinese and assimilated Thai-Chinese throughout the nation, Malays in the south near the Malaysian border, Isaan near the Lao border, and hill tribes such as the Karen and the Hmong in the north of the nation. Bangkok has a noticeable minority of ethnic Indians which even offer Halal or Vegetarian food. The post powerful families in Thailand are the Srichawla, Narula and the Shah family and hold still some type of influence in the Economic sector.

The overwhelmingly dominant religion (95%) is Theravada Buddhism, although Confucianism, Islam (4%), Christianity (1%) has a larege following too.


In addition to the Gregorian calendar, Thailand also uses the Thai solar calendar and the Thai version of the Buddhist calendar, which is 543 years ahead of the common perioid calendar. Thus, Thai year 2567 corresponds to the Western year 2024. Thai dates in English are often written as B.E., short for "Buddhist Era".

Some Thai holidays are based on the Thai lunar calendar, so their dates change every year.

Public Holidays in Thailand

Wat Phra Si Sanphet Ayutthaya Thailand

Officially there are no Islamic Holidays. Please visit the indevidual city or destination page as we list the Islamic Holidays in Thailand. For local prayer times, visit eHalal's official prayer times.

  • Chinese New Year - It is commonly called the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year and celebrations can last for about 15 days. Chinese Thais, who are numerous in Bangkok, celebrate by cleaning their houses and offering food to their ancestors. This is mainly a time of abundant feasting. Visit Bangkok's Chinatown or Yaowarat to fully embrace the festivity.
  • Makha Bucha | Falls on the full moon of the third lunar month, which usually falls in February or March, and commemorates the spontaneous gathering of 1,250 people before the Buddha, which led to their ordination and subsequent enlightenment. At temples in Bangkok and throughout Thailand, Buddhists carry candles and walk around the main shrine three times in a clockwise direction. Many Thai's that drink alcohol will stop for 3 months.
  • Songkran| Undoubtedly the most fun holiday, is the celebration of the Thai New Year, sometime in April (officially 13-15 Apr, but the date varies in some locations). What started off as polite ritual to wash away the sins of the prior year has evolved into the world's largest water fight, which lasts for three full days. Water pistols and Super Soakers are advised and are on sale everywhere. The best places to participate are Chiang Mai and the Khao San Road area in Bangkok, and holiday resorts like Pattaya, Ko Samui and Phuket. You will get very wet, this is not a spectator sport. The water-throwing has been getting more and more unpleasant as people have started splashing iced water onto each other. It is advisable to wear dark clothing, as light colours may become transparent when wet.
  • Loy Krathong | Falls on the first full moon day in the twelfth month of the lunar calendar, usually in November, when people head to rivers, lakes and even hotel swimming pools to float flower and candle-laden banana leaves (or and these days, Styrofoam) floats called krathong. The krathong is meant as an offering to thank the river goddess who gives life to the people. Thais also believe that this is a good time to float away your bad luck and many will place a few strands of hair or finger nail clippings in the krathong. According to tradition, if you make a wish when you set down your krathong and it floats out of sight before the candle burns out, your wish will come true. Some provinces have their own version of Loy Krathong, such as Sukhothai where a spectacular show takes place. To the north, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai have their own unique tradition of launching kom or hot-air lanterns. This sight can be breath-taking as the sky is suddenly filled with lights, rivalling the full moon.
  • King's Birthday - Father's Day | 28 July and the King's birthday is the nation's National Day and also celebrated as Father's Day, when Thais pay respect to and show their love for his majesty the king. Buildings and homes are decorated with the King's flag (yellow with his insignia in the middle) and his portrait. Government buildings, as well as commercial buildings, are decorated with lights. In Old Bangkok (Rattanakosin) in particular, around the royal palace, you will see amazing light displays on trees, buildings, and the roads. The Queen's Birthday (3rd of June) is Mother's Day.

Travel as a Muslim to Thailand


Entry requirements

Ordinary passport holders of many Muslim countries, including most ASEAN countries, Australia, Canada, most European Union countries, Hong Kong, Japan and the United States do not need a visa if their purpose of visit is tourism. Visitors receive 30-day permits (except for citizens of South Korea, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru who get 90 days, but effective 31 Dec 2022, an exemption is granted only twice per calendar year when not arriving by air. Muslims of Myanmar may enter without a visa for 14 days only if they enter by air; entry through any other mode of transport requires a valid visa. Thai immigration requires visitors' passports to have a minimum of 6 months validity and at least one completely blank visa page remaining. Visa-on-arrival is available at certain entry points for passport holders of 21 other nations (Andorra, Bhutan, Bulgaria, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan).

Those with passports from countries not widely known, including European city-states, or that have problems with document forgery, should obtain a visa in advance from the nearest Thai embassy. This is true even if visa on arrival is permitted. There are reports of tourists being detained using valid passports not commonly presented in Thailand. In addition, ask for a business card from the person or embassy which granted the visa, so they may be contacted on arrival, if necessary. Anyone whose nationality does not have its own embassy in Bangkok, should find out which third country represents your interests there, along with local contact information.

Those arriving via air from most African and South American countries are required to show yellow fever certificates and receive a stamp on their entry forms from the onsite health centre prior to clearing immigration.

Proof of onward travel, long happily ignored by Thai immigration, has been known to be strictly applied in some instances. Airlines, that have to pay for your return flight if immigration doesn't let you in, are more rigorous about checking for it. A print-out of an e-ticket on a budget airline is sufficient to convince the enforcers, but those planning on continuing by land may have to get a little creative. Buying a fully refundable ticket and getting it refunded once in Thailand is also an option. Land crossings, on the other hand, are a very straightforward process and no proof of onward journey required (unless the border officials decide otherwise). Saudi's and most GCC countries are not ask for onward flights.

Overstaying in Thailand is risky. If you make it to Immigration and are fewer than 10 days over, you'll probably be allowed out with a fine of 500 Baht per day. However, if for any reason you're caught overstaying by the police you'll be carted off to the notoriously unpleasant illegal immigrant holding pens and may be blacklisted from Thailand entirely. For most people it's not worth the risk: get a legal extension or do a visa run to the nearest border instead. Now that the number of visa exemptions at land borders is limited it is even more attractive to visit an immigration office to extend your visa or visa exemption with 30 days.

By plane

The main international airports in Thailand are at Bangkok (IATA Code: BKK) and Phuket (IATA Code: HKT), which are well-served by intercontinental flights. Practically every airline that flies to Asia also flies into Bangkok, meaning that there is plenty of competition to keep ticket prices down. Be aware, Bangkok as two major airports: Suvarnabhumi Airport (IATA Code: BKK) which serves most larger carriers and is the main airport and the smaller Don Mueang International Airport (IATA Code: DMK) which primarily serves low-cost carriers both internationally and domestically.

International airports are also located at Hat Yai, Krabi, Ko Samui and Chiang Mai, though these are largely restricted to Flights from other Southeast Asian countries. Kuala Lumpur and Singapore make excellent places to catch flights into these smaller Thai cities, meaning you can skip the ever-present agents and queues at Bangkok.

The national carrier is the well-regarded Thai-Airways, with Bangkok Airways filling in some gaps in the region. Bangkok Airways offers free Internet access while you wait for boarding to start at your gate. Thai-Airways subsidiary Thai Smile (low cost carrier) has also started international operations from India. In addition, Malaysian discount carrier AirAsia has also set up a subsidiary in Thailand, and is often the cheapest option for flights into Thailand.

Chartered Flights from and to Thailand from international destinations are operated by Hi Flying group. They fly to Bangkok, Phuket, Ko Samui and Udon Thani.

By train

Thailand's sole international train service links to Butterworth (near Penang) and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, continuing all the way to Singapore. Tickets are affordable even in first class sleepers, but it can be a slow ride. What is a 2-hour flight to Singapore will take you close to 48 hours by rail, as you have to switch trains twice. The luxury option is to take the Eastern & Oriental Express, a refurbished super-luxury train that runs from Singapore to Bangkok once per week, with gourmet dining, personal butler service, and every other colonial perk you can think of. However, at around USD1,900 one-way just from Bangkok to Butterworth but an experience of a lifetime!

While you can't get to Laos or Cambodia by train, you can get very close, with rail terminals just across the border at Nong Khai (across the river from Vientiane) and Aranyaprathet (for Poipet, on the road to Siem Reap).

There are no rail services to Myanmar, but the Thai part of the infamous Myanmar Death Railway is still operating near Kanchanaburi and eHalal offers one Halal tour to Kanchanburi.

By ferry

It is feasible now to travel by ferries in high season (November - May) from Phuket and island hop your way down the coast all the way to Indonesia.

This can now be done without ever touching the mainland,

Phuket (Thailand) to Penang (Malaysia), islands en route:

Ferries cross from Satun in southern Thailand to the Malaysian island of Langkawi, while over in Narathiwat Province, a vehicular ferry shuttles between Tak Bai and Pengkalan Kubur, near Kota Bharu in Malaysia's Kelantan state.

By plane


Thailand is a large country, and if sitting in a bus for 11 hours is not your idea of a fun time, you may well want to consider domestic flights. Never terribly expensive to begin with (at least by GCC standards) and the deregulation of the industry has brought in a crop of new operators: with a little research, it's feasible to fly pretty much anywhere in the nation for less than 2,000 Baht. On highly competitive routes like Bangkok to Phuket it is feasible to fly for less than a bus ticket if you book in advance. Various taxes and (often hefty) surcharges are invariably added to advertised prices. Don't forget to bring the credit card you used to book the ticket.

The airlines have moved away from routing all flights via Bangkok and offer non-stop connections between popular destinations like Chiang Mai and Phuket, Chiang Mai and Hat Yai, Phuket and Ko Samui and Phuket and Siem Reap. The budget airlines are also selling 'flights' that are actually packages combining flights with ferry and bus transfers to extend their reach to destinations without usable airports. Few airlines limit themselves to domestic operations; you are likely to find that some budget airline offers better connections to Myanmar or China. The numerous airlines and changing routes make flight price comparison websites useful as long as you buy tickets directly from the airline; you are not going to get Thai budget airline tickets cheaper through a third party.

Thai airlines

Pan-ASEAN low-cost carrier AirAsia has great coverage of international and domestic routes in Thailand and offers steeply discounted tickets if booked well in advance; however, prices rise steadily as planes fill up. It's often the cheapest option, sometimes even cheaper than bus or train, if booked at least a week or two in advance. They fly their A320s from Bangkok to a number of places domestically, and to Cambodia, China, Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Province of [hina, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Bangkok Airways promotes itself as "Asia's Boutique Airline", and has a monopoly on Flights to its own airports at Ko Samui (now shared with Thai-Airways), Sukhothai, and Trat. Quite an expensive and "posh" option; however and their Discovery Airpass with fixed per segment rates can be good value, especially if used to fly to Siem Reap, (Cambodia) or Luang Prabang, (Laos). The Discovery Airpass can only be purchased abroad.

Kan Airlines uses Chiang Mai as its hub and specializes in routes poorly served by its bigger competitors. For example, it is the only airline flying to Hua Hin.

Nok Air took to the skies in 2004 sporting lurid paint schemes with a bird's beak painted on the nose. Owned mostly by Thai-Airways and they compete with Air Asia on price and, with a fairly comprehensive domestic network, are a pretty good choice overall.

Thai-Airways International is the most reliable, frequent, and comfortable Thai airline, but usually more expensive than the alternatives (look for their promotions). Travel agents often sell only Thai-Airways (and Bangkok Airways) tickets; you can also book on-line. Thai-Airways is a member of Star Alliance; all domestic flights, except some promotional fares, give at least 500 Star Alliance miles, which may (partially) compensate the price difference. Flights from Jeddah have been sadly suspended.

Thai Lion Air is a budget airline started in 2013 as an offshoot of the Indonesian Lion Air. It still runs aggressive price promotions on most popular routes but you may have to fly very late or very early with inconvenient airport transfers.

Thai VietJet Air operates flights on behalf of the Vietnamese VietJet Air using Suvarnabhumi as its hub.

By train

State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has a 4,000-km network covering most of the nation, from Chiang Mai in the north all the way to (and beyond) the Malaysian border in the south. Compared to buses, most trains are relatively slow and prone to delays, but safer. You can pick up fruits, Snacks and cooked food from vendors at most stations.

Point-to-point fares depend on the type (speed) of the train and the class of the carriage. There are three classes of service but we only list the main one often used.

  • First class (chan neung) 2-berth sleeping compartments with individually regulated air conditioning are available on some trains, but prices are sometimes matched by budget airfares.
  • Second class (chan song) is a good compromise, costing about the same as 1st class buses and with a comparable level of comfort. Some 2nd class trains are air-con, others aren't; air-con costs a little more. Second class sleeper berths are comfortable and good value, with the narrower upper bunks costing a little less than the wider lower bunks. Food and WCs are basic. 2nd class Express Railcar trains have reclining seats and refreshments are included in the fare; unlike all other Thai passenger trains and they can match buses for speed, but cannot carry bicycles.

Tickets may be purchased from 60 days in advance to two hours before departure.

You can ship your motorbike on the same train on which you travel. All trains do not have baggage cars, so check with the ticket office. Shipping costs for motorbikes are roughly equivalent to the price of a first-class ticket on the same train.

By road

Thailand's roads are head and shoulders above its neighbors Myanmar, Laos or Cambodia and in the last few years, being the subject of major improvements. Unlike in its neighbours (except Malaysia), traffic moves on the left side of the road in Thailand and Thai cars are generally right-hand drive. Most official road directional signs are written in both Thai and English.

Renting a vehicle to explore on your own is a very cost-effective way of getting off the beaten track.. Most major roads are marked in both Thai and English and traffic culture is not as bad as some might lead you to believe. Keep a sharp lookout in both mirrors from passing traffic including 18-wheelers and scooters. If you travel with one companion and have a motor bike license, it's worth it exploring the possibilities of using small automatic gearbox 125/150cc step-on bikes to do shorter local excursions and use other mass means of transport or you can book a private tour.

Traffic on major highways moves at 100 km/h, while smaller highways are generally 80 km/h. Gas stations are common and most Thai are more than willing to give directions.

Drive very defensively at first and watch what the local residents do. Of course, it helps if you are accustomed to driving on the left side of the road, which in itself could be enough to distract some drivers.

If you're traveling by public conveyance-bus, train, airplane-you may be shocked at the difference in cost between long distance and local travel. A 119 kilometers journey between Khon Kaen and Udon Thani in a minivan costs 84 Baht, or 0.71 Baht per kilometre. Traveling the three kilometers from the bus station to a hotel will cost 80-140 Baht, or 30-45 Baht per kilometre (Nov 2023).

Muslim Friendly Car Rentals in Thailand

Renting a vehicle usually costs between 1,200-1,500 Baht if you want to go for an economical one like a Toyota Vios. Most international companies can be found in Thailand. Also check guides to particular cities for reputable local automobile rental services, which are often a little cheaper.

Muslim Friendly Van Rentals in Thailand

Minivan services are ubiquitous, although under the radar as minivans typically are anonymous grey Toyota vans with no company markings. They serve shorter routes, such as Krabi to Phuket, about 180 kilometers or Bangkok to Hua Hin, about 200 km. The purported advantage of taking a shuttle van is speed, as they move quickly once they get going. Disadvantages are that they are expensive compared with standard bus travel and they can be uncomfortable as they are usually crammed full, and they offer little room for luggage. Take minivans from bus stations. Do not take minivans that offer to pick you up at your hotel. They will pick you up, but then you will spend the next hour driving to other hotels to pick up more passengers. You will then be driven to an aggregator where all the collected passengers will disembark to wait for the minivan to their respective destinations. Then you will likely be driven to a bus station to change to a third and final minivan. Better just to sleep in and then go to bus station to book your (cheaper) minivan ticket, thus saving 2 hours of pointless discomfort.


The name tuk-tuk is used to describe a wide variety of small/lightweight vehicles. The vast majority have three wheels; some are entirely purpose-built (e.g. and the ubiquitous Bangkok tuk-tuk), others are partially based on motorcycle components (primarily engines, steering, front suspension, fuel tank, drivers seat). A relatively recent development is the four wheeled tuk-tuk (basically a microvan-songthaew) as found in Phuket.


Metered taxis are ubiquitous in Bangkok and starting to become more popular in Chiang Mai, but rare elsewhere in the nation, specially in Phuket.

Rental vehicle

Driving your own vehicle in Thailand is not for the faint-hearted, and many rental companies can supply drivers at a very reasonable price. Cars with insurance start at just under 1,300 Baht/day, and come down to around 6,600 Baht/week or 28,000 Baht/month. eHalal operates a Car Rental Business in Thailand

Driving is (usually, but not always!) on the left hand side of the road. Fuel at large petrol stations is 37-45 Baht/litre. Small kerbside vendors who pump by hand from drums and/or pour from bottles charge a few Baht more.

Cars can be rented without difficulty in many locations. It's worth paying a little more than the absolute minimum to use one (e.g. [eHalal Car Rentals) to minimize the risk of hassles, and to ensure that any included insurance is actually worth something.

Foreign Muslims who do not have a Thai driving licence must carry a valid International Driving Permit. Even if you manage to rent a vehicle without an IDP, not having one will invalidate the insurance and count against you in the event of an accident.

By boat

AoNang Longtails

One of the Thais' many names for themselves is jao naam and the Water Lords, and from the river expresses of Bangkok to the fishing trawlers of Phuket, boats remain an indispensable way of getting around many parts of the nation.

Perhaps the most identifiably Thai boat is the longtail boat (reua hang yao), a long, narrow wooden boat with the propeller at the end of a long "tail" stretching from the boat. This makes them supremely manoeuvrable even in shallow waters, but they're a little underpowered for longer trips and you'll get wet if it's even a little choppy. Longtails usually act as taxis that can be chartered, although prices vary widely. Figure on 600-800 Baht for a few hours' rental, or up to 2,000 Baht for a full day. In some locations like Krabi, longtails run along set routes and charge fixed prices per passenger.

Modern, air-conditioned speedboat services, sometimes ferries (departure every 30 min) also run from the Surat Thani to popular islands like Ko Samui and Ko Pha Ngan. Truly long-distance services (e.g., Bangkok to any other major city) have, however, effectively ceased to exist as buses, planes, and even trains are faster. Safety measures are rudimentary and ferries and speedboats do sink occasionally, so avoid overloaded ships in poor weather, and scope out the nearest life jackets when on board. As of November 2022, ferry service is available between Hua Hin and Pattaya, a 2.5-hour journey for 1,250 Thai Baht on a catamaran with a maximum capacity of 340.

Historical Facts about Islam in Thailand

Islam has a long and rich history in Thailand, contributing to the country’s diverse cultural and religious landscape. Here are some notable historical facts about Islam in Thailand:

Early Arrival of Islam

Islam was introduced to Thailand through trade and migration. Muslim traders from Persia, India, and Arabia began arriving in Southeast Asia, including the region now known as Thailand, as early as the 9th century. These traders established coastal trading posts and settlements, bringing with them their religious and cultural practices.

The Sukhothai Kingdom

During the Sukhothai period (1238-1438), Muslim communities began to establish themselves in the northern regions of Thailand. The presence of Muslims in the kingdom is evidenced by inscriptions and historical records that mention Muslim traders and settlements.

Ayutthaya Period

The Ayutthaya Kingdom (1351-1767) saw a significant increase in the Muslim population due to trade relations with the Middle East, India, and the Malay Peninsula. The kingdom’s capital, Ayutthaya, became a major trading hub where Muslims played crucial roles as merchants, diplomats, and military personnel. King Narai (1656-1688) even employed Muslim officials in his court, recognizing their importance in international trade and diplomacy.

Tomb of Sheikh Ahmad Qomi

One of the most significant figures in the history of Islam in Thailand is Sheikh Ahmad Qomi, an Iranian merchant who arrived in Ayutthaya in the early 17th century. He became a trusted advisor to the Thai king and was appointed as the head of Muslim affairs. Sheikh Ahmad Qomi’s descendants continued to hold influential positions in the Thai court for generations, blending Persian and Thai cultures.

The Pattani Sultanate

In the southern region of Thailand, the Pattani Sultanate, which emerged in the late 14th century, was a significant center of Islamic culture and learning. The sultanate maintained strong ties with other Islamic states in the Malay Peninsula and beyond. It became a beacon of Islamic scholarship, attracting scholars and students from across the Muslim world.

The Fall of Ayutthaya and the Thonburi Period

After the fall of Ayutthaya to the Burmese in 1767, the new capital was established in Thonburi by King Taksin. During this period, Muslims continued to play an essential role in the kingdom. The Kudeejeen community in Thonburi, for instance, is a historical neighborhood where Muslims, Christians, and Buddhists lived together harmoniously.

Bangkok Era and Muslim Contributions

The establishment of Bangkok as the capital by King Rama I in 1782 saw the continued integration of Muslims into Thai society. Muslims contributed to various aspects of Thai life, including trade, military service, and the arts. Prominent mosques such as Haroon Mosque and Tonson Mosque were built during this period, serving as religious and community centers.

Modern Era and Integration

In the 20th century, the Muslim population in Thailand grew, particularly in the southern provinces of Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat. The Thai government has recognized the importance of the Muslim community, granting them religious freedom and supporting Islamic education. Organizations such as the Central Islamic Council of Thailand have been established to oversee Islamic affairs and promote the welfare of Muslims in the country.

Thailand's Role in the OIC

Thailand holds Observer status in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), reflecting its recognition of the significance of its Muslim population. This status allows Thailand to participate in OIC meetings and collaborate on issues affecting the Muslim world.

Islam’s historical presence in Thailand has enriched the country’s cultural tapestry, fostering a legacy of religious diversity and mutual respect. The contributions of the Muslim community continue to shape Thailand’s social, economic, and cultural landscape.

What to see in Thailand

Thailand is home to a rich tapestry of cultural and religious heritage, including significant Islamic landmarks that reflect the country's diverse history and the contributions of its Muslim communities. Here are some must-visit Islamic heritage sites in Thailand:

1. Haroon Mosque, Bangkok


One of the oldest mosques in Thailand, Haroon Mosque was established in 1828 by an Indonesian Muslim named Toh Sem. Located near the Chao Phraya River, this mosque is not only a place of worship but also a community center for Bangkok's Muslim population. The beautiful architecture and serene environment make it a significant site for visitors interested in Islamic heritage.

2. Kudeejeen Community, Bangkok

Situated in Thonburi, the Kudeejeen Community is a historic neighborhood where Muslims, Christians, and Buddhists have coexisted for centuries. The area features traditional Thai-Portuguese architecture and several mosques, including Tonson Mosque, one of the oldest mosques in Thailand, established in the late Ayutthaya period. Visitors can explore the cultural heritage and enjoy local delicacies.

3. Krue Se Mosque, Pattani


Located in the southern province of Pattani, Krue Se Mosque, also known as Masjid Kerisik, is one of Thailand's oldest mosques, dating back to the 16th century. The mosque is an architectural marvel with its distinctive Persian and Middle Eastern influences. It stands as a testament to the long history of Islam in southern Thailand and is a significant cultural and religious landmark.

4. Talo Mano Mosque, Narathiwat

This mosque is renowned for its unique Thai architectural style, featuring intricate wood carvings and a serene ambiance. Talo Mano Mosque, built over 300 years ago, is an important religious site in Narathiwat Province, reflecting the local Muslim culture and traditions. Visitors can experience the peaceful atmosphere and learn about the local history and customs.

5. Baan Haw Mosque, Chiang Mai

Baan Haw Mosque 4-6-09

Baan Haw Mosque is the largest mosque in northern Thailand and serves as the religious center for the Hui Muslim community in Chiang Mai. The mosque's architecture blends traditional Thai and Chinese elements, reflecting the heritage of the Hui people. It is a vibrant community hub where visitors can observe daily prayers and participate in cultural events.

6. Darat Al-Hadith Al-Islamiya Mosque, Phuket

Also known as the Surau Darul Hadith Mosque, this mosque is an important religious site for the Muslim community in Phuket. Located in the heart of Phuket Town, the mosque is a center for Islamic education and community activities. Its modern architecture and welcoming atmosphere make it a great place to learn about Islam in Phuket.

7. Ao Talam Muslim Village, Krabi

Ao Talam is a picturesque Muslim fishing village located in Krabi Province. Visitors can explore the village, learn about the traditional way of life, and visit the local mosque. The community is known for its warm hospitality and delicious halal seafood, making it a unique cultural experience.


A Thai temple is known as a "wat". Usually a temple does not consist of one building, but is a collection of buildings, shrines and monuments enclosed by a wall. There are thousands of temples in Thailand, and nearly every town or village has at least one. The word "wat" literally means school, and the temple has been the only place where formal education took place for centuries. A typical Buddhist wat consists of the following structures:

  • Ubosot — Also written as Bot. The holiest prayer building, usually only open to the monks on special occasions. It is architecturally similar to the viharn, but is usually more heavily decorated and it has eight cornerstones to ward off evil. It is commonly called the "ordination hall" as it is where the monks take their vows. If opened to the public, some abbots have the Ubosot of their Wat closed to women. An Ubosot is not always present in a Wat.
  • Wihan — Also written as Viharn or Vihara. Usually the busiest building in a wat, it is where the temple's main Buddha image is and where people come to make offerings. It is open for everyone. A Wat can obtain more than one Wihan.
  • Chedi or stupa — A tall bell-shaped structure that generally houses relics of the Buddha.
  • Prang — A finger-like spire of Khmer and Ayutthayan origin that serves the same religious purpose as a chedi.
  • Mondop — An open, square building with four arches and a pyramidal roof. It is often used to worship religious texts or objects.
  • Sala — An open-sided pavilion that is used for relaxation and as a meeting place (and often used as a shelter for rain).
  • Chofa — Mostly bird-like decorations on the end of temple roofs. They are meant to represent the Garuda, a mythical creature that is half bird and half man. Other shapes include a Naga head and an Elphant head.

Historical and cultural attractions


Bangkok is at the start of many visitors' itineraries, and while a modern city, it has a rich cultural legacy. Most visitors at least take in the Grand Palace, a collection of highly decorated buildings and monuments. It is home to Wat Phra Kaew and the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand that houses the Emerald Buddha. Other cultural attractions include Wat Pho, Wat Arun and Jim Thompson's House, but these are just a fraction of feasible sights you could visit.

The former capitals of Siam, Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, make excellent stops for those interested in Thai history. The latter could be combined with a visit to Si Satchanalai and Kamphaeng Phet, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Khmer architecture is mostly found in Isaan, with the historical remains of Phimai and Nang Rong|Phanom Rung being the most significant.

In the northern provinces live unique hill-tribe peoples, often visited as part of a trekking. The six major hill tribes in Thailand are the Akha, Lahu, Karen, Hmong, Mien and Lisu, each with a distinct language and culture. Chiang Mai makes a good base for arranging these treks, and has some cultural sights of its own, such as Wat Doi Suthep.

Kanchanaburi has a lot of sights related to World War II. The Bridge over the River Kwai, popularised by the film of the same name, is the most famous one, but the museums in its vicinity are a lot more moving. "The Dead Railway" (tang rod fai sai morana) is the railway constructed by captive allied soldiers during World War II. This railway has a nice view all along its route.

Beaches and islands

Thailand's beaches and islands attract millions of visitors each year from all over the globe. Hua Hin is Thailand's oldest beach resort, made famous by King Rama VII in the 1920s as an ideal getaway from Bangkok. Things have considerably changed since then. Pattaya, Phuket, and Ko Samui only came to prominence in the 1970s, and these are now by far the most developed beach resorts.

Krabi Province has some beautiful spots, including Ao Nang, Rai Leh and the long golden beaches of Ko Lanta. Ko Phi Phi, renowned as a true island paradise, has been undergoing massive development since the release of the film The Beach in 2000. Ko Pha-ngan offers the best of both worlds, with both well-developed beaches and empty ones a short ride away. It is also where the infamous "Full Moon Party" takes place.

Ko Chang is a bit like Ko Samui used to be. It has a backpacker vibe, but is fairly laid-back and there is accommodation in all price ranges. If you're looking for unspoiled beaches, Ko Kut is very thinly populated, but also difficult to explore. Ko Samet is the closest island beach to Bangkok, but its northern beaches are quite developed and hotels are pretty much sold out on weekends and public holidays.

Natural scenery

Waterfalls can be found all over Thailand. The Heo Suwat Waterfall in Khao Yai National Park and the 7-tiered Erawan Falls in Kanchanaburi are among the most visited, but the Thee Lor Sue Waterfall in Umphang and the 11-tiered Pa La-u Falls in Hua Hin|Kaeng Krachan National Park are equally exciting. Finally and the gravity-defying limestone formations of the Phang Nga Bay shouldn't be missed by anyone who stays in the region.

Halal Tours and Excursions in Thailand

What to do in Thailand


Golf arrived in Thailand during the reign of King Rama V over a hundred years ago. It was first played by nobles and the Thai elites, but since then, things have certainly changed. Over the past decade or so and the popularity of golf in Thailand has escalated; it is now popular with Thais and visiting tourists and expatriates.

Catering to the needs of an average of 250,000 foreign golfers coming to Thailand annually, golf in Thailand has turned into a huge local industry with new courses constantly being churned out. Golf alone annually brings 8 billion Baht into the local economy. Thailand offers over two hundred courses with high standards. Internationally renowned courses can be found in tourist-spots like Bangkok, Pattaya, and Phuket.

There is an abundance of reasons why golf in Thailand has become so popular. First, if you compare the cost to most golfing countries in the world, membership and course fees are exceptionally low. The general low cost of travel in Thailand itself makes the nation ideal for cost-efficiency minded tourists. Also, many of the golf courses in Thailand have been designed by top names in the game such as Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Greg Norman.

  • Thailand Golf Courses Association | 6 Moo 3, Viphavadi-Rangsit Road, Bangkok, +66 2 6625234


Thailand's a big enough country and the size of Spain, that you can find a place to training almost any outdoor sport. Ko Tao is becoming one of Asia's great scuba diving centres, with Ang Thong National Marine Park near Ko Samui and the Similan Islands off Khao Lak also drawing many visitors. One of the newest locations for diving is Ko Lipe, a small island that is relatively unspoiled with great reefs and stunning beaches. Snorkelling can be done at pretty much every beach, but the coral reefs of the Similan Islands stand out as particularly worthwhile.

While Thailand does not match surf paradises like Bali, surfing does have its place. The waves are generally small, good for longboarding and those wanting to learn to surf. Khao Lak and Phuket's west coast beaches are among the better ones, but the best waves are to be found at the relatively unknown Ko Kradan on the west coast of Trang Province. Other surf-spots include Rayong and Ko Samui, but the waves of the Gulf Coast are less reliable.

Phang Nga Bay's gravity-defying limestone formations are usually seen with boat tours, but if you go sea-canoeing, you can get into areas unexplored by the tourist masses. The limestone cliffs of Rai Leh are among the best in the world for rock-climbing.


Traditional Thai massage has a history of more than 2,500 years. Practitioners of Thai massage operate on the belief that many invisible lines of energy run through the body. The masseur uses his or her hands, elbows, feet, heels and knees to exert pressure on these lines, releasing blockages that may exist, allowing a free flow of energy through the body. Many Thais believe that these massages are beneficial both for treating diseases and aiding general well-being. You're supposed to feel both relaxed and energised after a session.

Although spas weren't introduced here until the early 1990s, Thailand has quickly become one of the highest ranking spa destinations in the world. Besides traditional Thai massage and there is a phenomenal variety of international treatments, including aromatherapy, Swedish massage and many others. There is usually an option for every budget, varying from extravagant wellness centres in luxury hotels to the ubiquitous little massage shops found on many street corners.

Muslim Friendly Shopping in Thailand

The currency of Thailand is the Baht', denoted by the symbol "'" (ISO code: THB), written in Thai as or . uses "Baht" in its articles. It is divided into 100 satang. There are six coins and six notes:

  • 25 and 50 satang (cent, copper colour) coins - nearly worthless and only readily accepted (and handed out) by buses, supermarkets and 7-Elevens
  • 1, 2 (in 2 versions: silver and gold), 5 (silver colour) and 10 Baht (silver/gold) coins
  • 20 (green), 50 (blue), 100 (red), 500 (purple) and 1,000 (grey-brown) Baht notes

The most useful bills tend to be 20s and 100s, as many small shops and stalls don't carry much change.


They are everywhere, and international withdrawals are not a problem, besides the fee. When using a debit card, an ATM will typically provide a much better exchange rate than a money exchange counter, and this is especially the case if you have a card that does not charge a transaction fee for overseas withdrawals (becoming common in countries such as Australia). ATMs are available at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) after collecting your bag and clearing customs, and while it is advisable to arrive with a small amount of Baht if feasible, you may obtain cash from an ATM after landing as well. There's a 220 Baht surcharge (up from 150 when it was introduced in 2009-10 and then 200 Baht) for using foreign cards in most ATMs, you'll be notified about this fee in any ATM which charges it, so you always have an option to cancel. AEON, which used not to charge any fee until 2013, still charges 150 Baht though - but it's ATMs are few and far between even in Bangkok, and none at the islands besides Ko Samui and Phuket. Most ATMs (including AEON) have a limit of 20 notes, that is 20,000 Baht; Bangkok Bank typically dispenses 25 notes at once, and a few other banks including Citibank (but only in Bangkok), Krungsri, TMB and CIMB may dispense 30 notes - which makes them even slightly better than AEON, but only in case you do need 30,000 Baht ($900) at once.

Credit/Debit cards

Cards are widely accepted in the tourist industry such as in restaurants, shopping malls and retail outlets catering to tourists. Fraud is regrettably common though, so use them sparingly and tell your bank in advance, so your card doesn't get locked down because you are using it. Some businesses add a surcharge (usually 2-3%) if you're paying by credit card; in this case, it can turn out cheaper to pay them in cash.

Tax refund - VAT

Foreign visitors (with a few exceptions) have the benefit to receive a 7% VAT refund on luxury goods purchased from shops that participate in the ' VAT Refund for Tourists]' scheme. When you see a 'VAT Refund for Tourists' sign, you can receive a 7% refund of the VAT levied on goods at the shop. However, certain conditions apply, and you won't be able to claim your refund until you depart Thailand from an international airport.

The goods must be purchased from participating shops that display a "VAT Refund For Tourists" sign. You may not claim VAT refund for services or goods that you use or "consume" while in Thailand; such as hotel or restaurant expenses. On any one day and the goods purchased from any one individual participating shop must be at least 2,000 Baht including VAT. When you purchase the goods, ask the sales assistant to complete a VAT refund form, known as the P.P.10, and attach the original tax/sales invoices to that form. Each P.P.10 must show a value of 2,000 Baht or more. You will need to show your passport to the sales assistant when you purchase the goods, to allow her to fill in the above mentioned form. When you exit the nation and the goods must be inspected prior to check in and your completed P.P. 10's stamped. Since you must give away the original receipts it is a good idea to take photos or make copies in case you need to prove the value of your purchases to customs officers when going home.

Muslim Friendly Food & Restaurants in Thailand

Halal restaurants are available throughout Thailand. 7/11 also stocks ready Halal Meals.

eHalal maintains a list of all certified food manufactured in Thailand, so explore our list.


The following are recommended:

  • Prescriptions for any prescription medications being brought through customs
  • Travel insurance
  • Blood donor/type card
  • Details of your next of kin
  • A second photo ID other than your passport
  • Credit card plus a backup card for a separate account

Explore more Halal Friendly Destinations from Thailand

Thailand borders on Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos. Vietnam is beyond Cambodia and Laos, and southern China, Singapore and Indonesia are also in the overall region. Budget airlines offer Flights from Bangkok to destinations as far as in Japan and Australia.

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